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The Caine Mutiny

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  13,253 ratings  ·  552 reviews
Upon its original publication in 1951, this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel was immediately embraced as one of the first serious works of fiction to help readers grapple with the human consequences of World War II. In the intervening half-century, Herman Wouk's boldly dramatic, brilliantly entertaining story of life-and mutiny-on a Navy warship in the Pacific theater has achi ...more
Hardcover, 498 pages
Published 1951 by Doubleday
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeffrey Keeten
It is conceivable that most unusual and extraordinary circumstances may arise in which the relief from duty of a commanding officer by a subordinate becomes necessary, either by placing him under arrest or on the sick list; but such action shall never be taken without the approval of the Navy Department or other appropriate higher authority, except when reference to such higher authority is undoubtedly impracticable because of the delay involved or for other clearly obvious reason...

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Herman Wouk
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Tuco Markham
My favorite Pulitzer Prize winning fiction novel. Why?? It is set in World War II and it just tells a story, no deep intellectual meaning, no homosexual subtext, no infidelity, no sex, no profanity for profanity's sake, etc. etc. Just a good story and in the end you don't know who you want to "root" for.
Brad
Top Ten Reasons to Give The Caine Mutiny a Chance

10. Wouk's clear, compelling, Pulitzer Prize winning prose.

9. The boredom of military service, even in wartime, has never been so interesting.

8. The USS Caine DMS feels like home -- no matter who's in command.

7. The ineluctable build of Queeg's collapse.

6. Willie's slow and certain becoming.

5. Keefer's behaviour insuring that no side is "right."

4. The best novelized military trial ever written.

3. The complexity of Wouk's characters, even when the
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booklady
An all time favorite book of mine anyway, The Caine Mutiny holds even more personal significance for me because I saw the play performed in London over twenty years ago when I was still dating my husband. Charlton Heston starred as the enigmatic Queeg and I just learned that this production is written up on Wikipedia. Although sometimes maligned for not being reliable, in this case Bear and I can attest to the reliability of at least that much of the article.*

The Caine Mutiny is a fascinating l
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Jeff Miller
Wow just wow.

First time I have read this one, although have seen the movie oh so many times. This review assumes you have seen the movie, if not don't read ahead.

The film version is brilliant and certainly captures some aspects of the book. The film and the book both have the sucker-punch involving involving the speech by the lawyer Greenwald after most of the book deals with the crew and the infamous Captain Queeg.

The novel though has a different narrative through the eyes of "Willie" Keith. An
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Natylie Baldwin
It wasn't until I got about 2/3 of the way through that I realized this was a 5-star book.

The book has its flaws: there is some extraneous material in the first half that could have been cut down, there are a few instances of an awkward secondary character point of view, and there is a generous sprinkling of those pesky adverbs that everyone seems to equate with literary leprosy these days.

But the events immediately preceding the mutiny, the actual mutiny itself and the subsequent court martia
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Danielle
I put off reviewing this book for way too long because I wanted to do it justice. Now it's been months since I finished it, and so my review will be lacking accordingly. But, I can say without reservation that I highly recommend this book. I enjoyed it immenseley, and it met the three criteria for a 5-star book: It entertained me, it made me think, and it made me feel.
I decided to read this book because it was lodged somewhere in my mind as one of those "books you should read." Also, there is a
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Alondra
May 31, 2015 Alondra rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone with a pulse
Shelves: books-i-own
5 Stars

I knew this would be a 5-Star read, for me, within the first 50 pages. Something about an author who knows how to tell a story, and not just write one. Feel me??

The story is a masterpiece, pure and simple.

According to the book blurb: "...Herman Wouk's boldly dramatic, brilliantly entertaining novel of life-and mutiny-on a Navy warship in the Pacific theater..."

To me, it really is the story of our main character's brief stint in the Navy, his complicated relationships with his parents an
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Mike (the Paladin)
In many ways this is a difficult book, at least to categorize and/or rate. It was also a difficult read for me at times, by turns absorbing, slightly boring, almost exciting, very infuriating, frustrating and thought provoking.

I suppose most will know at least the outline of the story here as it's not only a novel, but a play and a movie. I'll still try to avoid spoilers here for those who haven't run across it in any form. Let me say that the book doesn't fall easily into one category. It's a
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Czarny Pies
Mar 20, 2015 Czarny Pies rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Someone looking for a defense of middle-class wasp values
Recommended to Czarny by: Jim Amm, My Track Coach who believed in keeping a cool head in a storm
This novel is the great American classic of the Post War Years describing the trials that an American K must go through in order to "enter the law" or to conform to the expectations of mainstream society. Despite being a devout Jew, Herman Wouk decides to make his hero Joseph K a classic American Wasp. Willis (Willie) Seward Keith must learn to abandon his irresponsible youth, learn how to choose companions wisely, accept responsibility and provide leadership. As Willie spends most of the war se ...more
Daniel Villines
Much like the main character of The Caine Mutiny, Willis Keith, I served in the Navy as a reservist on active duty during our first conflict with Iraq and observed (and experienced) many of the eccentric, illogical, and wasteful processes employed by the Navy. As with the crew of the USS Caine, I recall a few endless pre-dawn mornings where we were instructed to move at full speed from one place to the next only to spend the rest of the day waiting for our next set of instructions. I also served ...more
Jeanmarie
This is one of those books in which you, yourself, live for as long as it takes to read the whole book. Wouk's forthright manner is detailed, but not verbose. His sense of humor is subtle and wry. There is a believable balance of the mental and the emotional in the narrative and the story feels complete when the book ends.
Cindy
This story took place during World War II and told the story of the mine sweeper The Caine and its crew. I had to constantly remind myself that the book was fiction. Never once lost interest in the story. Very good book that I would recommend to all.
Jeremy
Somehow, almost inexplicably, this has become one of my favorite books of all time. That, to me, is a strange honor to bestow upon a book that, on it's face, isn't really about anything. As far as World War II naval adventures go, the Caine saw little meaningful action and the war is merely a minor context to what is, really, not a war novel. Wouk's prose is as a sharp as a knife, and each sentence is a joy to read. His characters are easily identifiable, quintessentially human, and unrepentingl ...more
Nilesh
There are many remarkable things about the book, but the best for me is the authors' ability to hide where his true sympathies lie. More than the grandiose court scene and sharp lawyer/witness repartees that permanently shaped the Hollywood, the mostly eventless but still dangerously combating naval life during the wartime, the phenomenally crazy yellow stain/strawberry/shirt tail episodes and powerful characters, the author walks away with glory in twisting the right and wrong of the mutiny in ...more
Helen
I wasn't expecting such a very enjoyable read! Vivid characterization, plenty of funny moments, palpable tension, realistic detail (without technobabble)... Also enjoyable was the lack of unnecessary content- no graphic sex, very limited and mild swearing (there's plenty of "he swore," of course, this being a maritime story), no attempt to put a modern "spin" on things. Nor did the author feel it necessary to make his audience miserable by the end of the book, either by using a jaded "life's hel ...more
Jayne Charles
I was in the school library at the age of 14 and about to borrow an Enid Blyton (at the age of 14! The shame of it!!) when my English teacher Mrs Straughan saw me, tut-tutted loudly and gave me this book instead. I was horrified. Some piece of historical fiction about some Americans in the Navy in World War II. So far out of my comfort zone it might as well have been on Mars. 'You'll really enjoy it', Mrs Straughan assured me. And she was right. Not only did I enjoy it the first time, I enjoyed ...more
Sonny
This book surprised me! I was not expecting anything from it, and have heard about it for years on end, but Wouk's description of the petty tyrant, the good soul, the sympathetic commander are all classic themes and thrown in with a twist. This is not so much a war novel as it is a tale of humor and human breakdowns. I have never seen the movie, but as I understand it is a classic, I now am inclined to do so.
Julie Davis
I'm reading this for an upcoming A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast episode. I could have sworn I read this after seeing the movie several decades ago but it is not ringing a bell in these early chapters. However, I'm enjoying it immensely so far.

Update
This is a book I dread to pick up because I know that Captain Queeg is going to do something so outrageous that I'm going to hate reading about it and the consequences to the innocent. And yet, when I do pick it up I can't put the darned book do
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Corey
This was much better than I had anticipated though I don't know why I say that. The prose is workmanlike and, of course, it's too long, but there is real power here, and Captain Queeg, is an amazing creation, Nixonian before Nixon.
Spencer
Just finished reading for thr 3rd time. Previusly read in 2007 and sometime in the 90s. It's one of the best books written about the paranoid mind.
Rose
I don't consider myself to be a fan of war stories, so I was anticipating not enjoying this much, and really dreading the over 500 pages. Fortunately this was one of those books that is so well written that you fall into the story after the first few pages, and find that you are more comfortable there then out in the 'real world'. I was delighted when I found myself not only surprised when I looked up from book while reading int the park and was not only slightly startled to realize that it was ...more
Yonatan
The Caine Mutiny takes place during World War 2. We are introduced to William Keith, a rich pampered young man from NY. Like all able bodied men at the time he enlists in the navy. After barely getting through mid shipment school, he is assigned the a DMS(Destroyer Mine Sweeper) named the Caine. The Caine was built before World War 1 and has served through the war and ironically has never swept a single mine. When Willie first begins to serve on the Caine it is commanded by Captain de Vriess, a ...more
Sean Brennan
One of the great things about books is that they are often not exactly what you expected, this is especially true of The Caine Mutiny. The court martial of Queeg a sad little man completely out of his depth with the command of a ship in wartime was I felt highlighted the tension that existed between the Regular Navy officers and the Volunteer Naval Officer personified in the shape of Lt. Keefer, a novelist/academic who viewed things ' we're in the hands of the shoeshine boys. It's irritating whe ...more
Agnes Mack
I'm not sure how much my opinion of this book benefited from having read a slew of WWII novels ahead of it. I still have an unfortunate number of WWII novels to get through before the year is over, but this is easily the best of the ones I've read so far. I don't know if that's because it was actually good, or if just being readable was such a leg up from the others that I am judging it favorably.

The main difference between this and the other WWII novels I've read was that they were all about WW
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Robert Palmer
This novel by Wouk was published in 1951 and he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1952.most people have seen the movie and many who have not might still know of Captain Queeg , but you still have to read the book to know the whole story. This book has many different genres such as romance,suspense,adventure,coming of age and of course court room drama. The first charter we meet is Ensign Willie Keith who is from a very well to do family and his girl friend May Wynn daughter of Italian immigrants and not ...more
Anish
Herman Wouk's Pulitzer winning novel, The Caine Mutiny, provides a brilliant insight into the moral and ethical dilemmas that a high-ranking commanding officer has to face during combats. This is a highly engaging character study where Wouk creates characters with sharply contrasting character traits and showcases their reactions to a range of situations.

I will avoid discussing plot points here so as to not give away spoilers. Instead I will focus on Wouk's writing style. His prose is intense,
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Paul
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jon Cardwell
As great as that movie was (and is, in my humble opinion), I believe the book was much better, and was in a way, much different.

The story is a masterpiece of fiction and it’s as novel as the book itself. The book reflects upon the general courts-martial of Lieutenant Stephen Maryk and Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Willis Keith who are tried for the charge making a mutiny onboard the U.S.S. Caine, a battle-scarred Destroyer Minesweeper (DMS), homeported at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and forward deployed fo
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Literary Fiction ...: artist's books 101 54 Jan 15, 2015 01:07PM  
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9020
Herman Wouk is a bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning Jewish American author with a number of notable novels to his credit, including The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War, and War and Remembrance.

Herman Wouk was born in New York City into a Jewish family that had emigrated from Russia. After a childhood and adolescence in the Bronx and a high school diploma from Townsend Harris High School, he earned
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More about Herman Wouk...
The Winds of War (The Henry Family, #1) War and Remembrance (The Henry Family, #2) Marjorie Morningstar Don't Stop the Carnival The Hope (The Hope and the Glory, #1)

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“This life is slow suicide, unless you read.” 29 likes
“The Navy is a master plan designed by geniuses for execution by idiots. If you are not an idiot, but find yourself in the Navy, you can only operate well by pretending to be one. All the shortcuts and economies and common-sense changes that your native intelligence suggests to you are mistakes. Learn to quash them. Constantly ask yourself, "How would I do this if I were a fool?" Throttle down your mind to a crawl. Then you will never go wrong.” 13 likes
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